Currently Reading: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

This is the most beautiful book I've read in a long time.

I kept seeing the title all over the place on "Best of" lists, but had no idea what it was about so jumped in totally blind.

The novel is set in Chechnya and jumps back and forth in time, following the stories of a small group of characters and how the wars affect them.

Havaa is a young girl.  Her mother has died and her father has just been taken away.  Akhmed, a neighbor and good friend of her father's, knows that he must protect Havaa or they will come for her as well.

He finds Sonja, the head surgeon of the local hospital (although only by default - everyone else has fled) and asks her to care for the girl.

Sonja is dealing with her own demons, specifically the loss of her sister.  She does not know where he sister went or if she is still alive.  This not knowing drives all that Sonja does.

Stunningly, this is Marra's first novel.  I can't stress how beautifully written it is and how it completely enveloped me every time I picked it up.  The characters are amazing portraits of a life I know nothing about, yet they felt so real and so relatable.

All of those "Best of" lists were right.

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